Zion National Park 2

Posted: 16 December 2012 in Travel
Tags: , , , ,

Last year I wrote that I was going to hike Angel’s Landing for my birthday (July 14th).  Well it didn’t end up happening.  Instead I did it this year.  It was such an awesome experience.

I got up really early so as to make it to the park by the time it opened.  I got there later than i would have liked, but it was still early enough that there weren’t tons of people and it wasn’t too hot.  I should probably mention that the sky was overcast and the weather had been rough for a while.  When I got to the park, the sky looked like it was clearing up.  It didn’t.

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I parked just outside the gate and walked into the park (it’s cheaper).  From there I took a bus to the start of Angel”s Landing.  The trek from start to finish was 5 miles.  It was supposed to take upwards of three hours for those walking at a moderate pace.  I definitely wasn’t.  I got done with it in less than two hours.  You get things done a lot quicker when you’re by yourself.

The first part of the hike wasn’t so bad.  The path was fairly simple until it got to the base of the mountain.  From there you had to travel up.  The path wound back and forth up the side of it until it reached a narrow opening between two peaks.  That part of the trail also wasn’t so bad.  It was a simple trail, but walking up a straight couple hundred feet really does a number on your lungs. 

By this point a slight drizzle had started to come down.  Being that it was the middle of the summer, it wasn’t so bad.  After another straight path, it started climbing again and winding like a snake up the peak.  Just before you get to the last .5 mile there is a nice plateau with toilets (that weren’t working so thankfully I didn’t have to use them).  The few was spectacular.  Then I began the last half mile.

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When I studied in England a few years back, I joined the Ultimate Frisbee team.  We play indoor and outdoor.  I had to buy a pair of indoor trainers as I didn’t have any.  When I planned this hike, I figured these shoes would be adequate enough.  They weren’t.  Good thing there were chains bolted to the rocks.  Word to the wise: WEAR APPROPRIATE SHOES!!!!!!!  

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About a fifth or so of the way to the top it began to rain.  Not just sprinkle, but downpour.  It was humourous watching people attempt to locate hiding places to wait out the storm.  I had anticipated a storm and had placed lots of things in plastic bags in my backpack to keep them from getting ruined, but I didn’t bring anything for myself.  There was really no place to hide from the rain so I just kept climbing.  I have to say the view was incredible.  There were waterfalls coming off the adjacent peak and clouds of fog were everywhere.  It was beautiful.  At one point, some guys told me to listen out for thunder as they had heard some (I had my headphones in so I hadn’t heard it).  

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I was so excited when I got to the top.  I had made it.  It is so awesome to finish a goal.  Shortly after I reached the top, thunder crashed and lightning flashed.  I felt the electricity on my skin.  That was unnerving.  I hurried to the end and got someone to take my picture before the scampered off.  Before I also made my way down, I checked my phone and was surprised to find that I had a signal.  I called my mom and got to share in the moment with her.  Then I heard more thunder and quickly began my descent.  

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The rest of the time I went to Weeping Rock, Hidden Canyon Trail (which I don’t believe I got to finish because the rain had made a pool that was too dirty to determine how deep it was and I wasn’t about to test it out), and the Kayenta Trail which led to the Emerald Pools (which you can no longer swim in.  Such a disappointment as you could when I was younger).  In total I hiked and walked over 13 miles.  Yeah my feet were swollen by the time I got to my car.  It felt so good to take off my shoes.  I also got sunburned as the sun came out just after I finished Angel’s Landing.

So here are my tips.  Go early.  There is a ton to do so the earlier you go the more you can get done in a day.  Take lots of water and snacks.  Wear appropriate clothing and shoes.  Check the weather.  All of these seem fairly obvious, but I have to say them.  There is a lodge close to where all the big hikes are, but if you run out of water in the midst of a 5-6 hour hike you’re screwed.  Sunscreen might also be a good idea, especially if it is supposed to be sunny.  Zion’s is a wonderful place to take your family or even go by yourself (as I did).  It is amazing to dive into nature and disappear from the stress of everyday life.  It was an amazing birthday for myself and honestly, I feel that the hike was made so much more enjoyable because of the rain.  If it’d been sunny, I would never had seen the waterfalls or the simply breathtaking view of the clouds.  I don’t suggest doing per say, but for me it was awesome.  For more info you can check out my other blog here: https://cetracy.wordpress.com/2011/03/11/zion-national-park/.  It contains more insight and stories plus the link to Zion’s webpage 😉

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